Hollywood is filled with famous and successful sibling actors – Jeff and Beau Bridges, Warren Beatty and Shirley MacLaine, Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez, Khloe Kardashian and Chewbacca – but this list is reserved for those unfortunate actors who can never quite escape their more famous siblings’ shadows. They are the actors who kinda, sorta remind you of their more famous brother or sister. They’re the ones you turn to when you can’t afford the real thing. Some of them are absolutely terrible, just riding their more famous sibling’s coattails to a modest career, while some of them are surprisingly and genuinely talented. Whatever their differences, these nine actors all have one thing in common – they’re all doomed to be known as the “other” one. But that’s okay. I mean, hey, at least they’ll be remembered for something, right? Right???
Photo credit: david_shankbone, Flickr
9 Charlie O’Connell
Younger brother of: Jerry O’Connell
You might remember him from: Dude, Where’s My Car; Sliders
Poor Charlie O’Connell has exactly one thing going for him – he kinda, sorta looks like his older brother, Jerry, a dude who’s not exactly an A-lister these days either. I mean, what’s Charlie to do? There are no scraps left for him to pick up because his brother has been reduced to eating those scraps. I mean, his brother doesn’t even have a shitty TV show like Sliders for Charlie to worm his way onto anymore. Oh well, who needs success? After all, Charlie will always have his award winning role in Kraken: Tentacles of the Deep to warm his heart, or at least to keep him busy on a sleepy Sunday afternoon, alone on the couch, watching the SyFy network. So you can keep your supermodel wife, Jerry, because Charlie once starred in a movie directed by the immortal Tibor Takacs. Take that!
8 Haylie Duff
Older sister of: Hilary Duff
You might remember her from: Napoleon Dynamite; Material Girls; a bunch of terrible TV movies
Most of the people on this list are younger siblings of already established stars. They find a measure of success trying to follow the path blazed by their older brothers or sisters. But not Haylie Duff. No, Haylie Duff has the ignominy of being the older sister of Hilary Duff and of having to take the handouts and scraps provided by her little sister in order to be anything other than just another talentless, struggling actress or a waitress at Hooters. She had to stand by, struggling for fame, and watch her little sister get famous just because she’s a little bit cuter and then she had to accept that not only would she never achieve fame on her own, but that people would only remember her as Hilary Duff’s sister. And even that little miserable slice of fame could only be achieved through glomming onto Hilary’s success and following her around like her little sidekick, like in the movie Material Girls, which seems like it was made by Hilary just so Haylie would have something to do. That wouldn’t be so bad if she were Hilary’s younger sister, but she’s not. She’s older and that has to gnaw at her at least a little bit, right?
7 Clint Howard
Younger brother of: Ron Howard
You might remember him from: Every Ron Howard movie ever made and a million other things
Clint Howard was not a dude born to be famous. He looks weird, he sounds weird and if you saw him walking down the street late at night you’d probably start walking a little bit faster in the other direction. Hell, at times the dude seems like he’s semi-retarded. And yet, thanks to a combination of the largesse of older brother Ron and a unique kind of presence that is all his own, Clint Howard has managed to carve out his own little niche in Hollywood. He’s almost a cult figure, and while nobody will ever forget that he’s Clint Howard: Ron Howard’s younger brother, he’s also Clint Howard: that one weird dude who’s in every damn movie out there, and while that may not seem like much, just look at the picture of Clint. That’s a hell of an accomplishment. Besides, by all accounts he’s a hell of a nice guy and so we should all be happy for him. Here’s to you, Clint Howard. This weird world of ours is a better place because you are in it.
6 Jim Belushi
Younger brother of: John Belushi
You might remember him from: According to Jim; Red Heat; Saturday Night Live; and a whole bunch of movies that can best be described as “80’s movies.”
Jim Belushi is arguably the most successful actor on this list. Sure, some of that is because he is the younger brother of the legendary John Belushi, which certainly couldn’t have hurt when it came to getting his foot in the door, but Jim has carved out a nice career for himself over the last thirty years. People forget, but at one time, during the mid/late ‘80s, Jim Belushi was actually a legitimate movie star. He costarred with Arnold Schwarzenegger in Red Heat and established himself as the go-to guy in Hollywood when it came to gritty, blue collar comedy/action roles. Sure, it’s not like any of them were that good and all that eventually faded away, but still, that’s better than nothing, you know? Eventually, Jim Belushi would make a bit of a comeback with the long running TV show, According to Jim, and while you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who actually liked it, it stuck around for a long time (8 years! Can you believe that shit?) and still pops up on TV every now and again. Which is basically a metaphor for Jim Belushi’s entire career. Sure, he’ll never be John, but then again, who could?
5 Chad Lowe
Younger brother of: Rob Lowe
You might remember him from: Unfaithful; Pretty Little Liars; Oxford Blues
Not only is Chad Lowe the younger, less famous brother of Rob Lowe, he’s also the ex-husband of the more famous Hilary Swank. Poor guy. He’s spent most of his life living in the shadow of people more famous than him. Brothers, wives… are we sure his dog isn’t the dog from Frasier or something? Oh well, I guess he’s comfortable with it. Then again, since Hilary Swank gave him the boot, maybe he’s not so comfortable with it. Who can say for sure? The only thing that is for sure is that if it weren’t for these famous relationships, Chad Lowe would be just another face in the crowd, a hard-working character actor just making a living the best way he knew how. Instead, I imagine everywhere he goes he has to face questions either about his older brother or about his ex-wife. Joy!
4 Charlie Murphy
Older brother of: Eddie Murphy
You might remember him from: Chappelle’s Show; CB4; “I’m Rick James, bitch”; etc.
Charlie Murphy is sort of a unique case. For years, he flew under the radar as Eddie Murphy’s brother, picking up bit parts and basically hanging around Hollywood just because it was better than hanging around where he grew up. It didn’t seem like he really had any delusions of fame. But then he landed on Chappelle’s Show and his face, if not his name, soon became familiar to fans of the show. And then it happened, and by it, I of course mean the infamous Rick James sketch, which skyrocketed both Charlie and Chappelle’s Show to widespread fame. One day, Charlie was just the menacing character actor on a Comedy Central sketch show, and the next day he was damn near a household name. Today, when people see Charlie Murphy the name that pops into their head isn’t Eddie Murphy, it’s Rick James. And when people think of Rick James, a lot of them probably think of Charlie Murphy. And hey, that’s better than most of us get.
3 Kevin Dillon
Younger brother of: Matt Dillon
You might remember him from: Entourage; Platoon
I’m guessing it wasn’t hard for Kevin Dillon to find the heart of has-been actor and less famous sibling Johnny Drama in Entourage. That’s because up until that role came along and changed his life, he spent his entire career trying to escape the shadow of his older brother, Matt Dillon. And sure, while Kevin has never had an on-screen threesome with Denise Richards and Neve Campbell like Matt, he actually hasn’t done too badly for himself. Even before showing up in Entourage, Kevin had memorable roles in movie like Platoon and The Doors. His role in Platoon as the cocky and kind of despicable Bunny was particularly memorable and seemed to hint at a bright future. It didn’t really happen though and Dillon had to wait for Entourage to transform his career. Today, he’s not really thought of as Matt Dillon’s brother, but as the fictional Vincent Chase’s brother, which is kind of weird, but what the hell, Hollywood is a weird town.
2 Don Swayze
Younger brother of: Patrick Swayze
You might remember him from: True Blood; Beach Babes from Beyond; a bunch of other terrible shit
Yes… Don Swayze. This guy actually exists, and while he has recently popped up in semi-respectable fare like True Blood, he’s spent much of his career starring in sleazy, low-budget movies that have been one step above soft-core porn. I’d sit here and make fun of him because I am an asshole but I won’t out of respect for his dead brother, my personal hero and your messiah, the one, the only, Patrick Swayze. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go listen to “She’s Like the Wind” and watch Point Break for the 168th time. Rest in peace, sweet prince.
1 Donnie Wahlberg
Older brother of: Mark Wahlberg
You might remember him from: The Sixth Sense; the Saw franchise; Band of Brothers; the hilarious New Kids on the Block
Donnie Wahlberg is unique. Unlike everyone else on this list, he was actually famous before his brother. Actually, he was mega-famous. As a member of New Kids on the Block, Donnie Wahlberg was a legit teen idol, someone who couldn’t walk down the street without being mobbed by screaming teenyboppers. But that fame faded long ago, and since then Donnie has made a name for himself both as Mark Wahlberg’s older brother and as a respected character actor. The weird thing is that he’s probably actually a better actor than Mark. I’m serious. He’s pretty damn good. Check out his performances in The Sixth Sense or Band of Brothers if you don’t believe me. What’s really messed up is that since Mark Wahlberg is the dude who created Entourage you just know that he sees Donnie as the real life Johnny Drama, which kind of makes Mark look like a dick, right? I mean, Donnie has to go through life knowing that he’s the real life inspiration for Johnny Drama! That has to suck. On the other hand, he can also go through life knowing that he’s the better actor and considering that his brother has been nominated for a pair of Academy Awards, that has to feel pretty damn good.
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